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Jury Convicts Prior Felon of 2 Counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon


11/30/2012

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 63 year old John Harris of 27 Naval, Buffalo, was convicted as charged, of two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, after a four day jury trial before Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case.  These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted.

Harris was initially approached by police officers shortly after menacing his girlfriend in a domestic violence incident. Harris fled but was apprehended after a foot chase. It was during that chase that Harris unsuccessfully attempted to discard a loaded revolver. Additional police investigation uncovered a second loaded pistol at Harris’ house. Neither weapon was possessed lawfully, as Harris is a prior felon, having been previously convicted of 1st degree assault, 2nd degree assault, weapon’s possession and contempt in connection with another domestic violence offense.

The defendant’s violent criminal history did not discourage defense counsel from arguing that Harris’ arrest was the product of rogue police officers who planted evidence against him (there was not a shred of proof to substantiate that outrageous claim); nor has it discouraged Harris from filing a federal lawsuit claiming that Judge Case violated his civil rights by not dismissing this case and that the District Attorney’s Office violated his civil rights by obtaining (with a court order) his DNA.

DA Sedita stated: “we are thankful that the jury saw through the completely bogus claims of the defendant, but remained troubled that defendants are permitted to engage in these frivolous tactics in their desperate attempt to escape responsibility for their crimes.”  

The case was successfully prosecuted by Special Victim’s ADA Peter Marché.  Harris faces a maximum prison sentence of thirty years when sentenced by Judge Case on January 9, 2013.